On Friday night, March 10, a small group of friends, volunteers and workers stood outside the Vivonne Bay Store to celebrate with Manager Michelle Peacock the re-opening of her store after it had been badly damaged by fire last year.
The bright, fresh and clean store is a long way from the black, dark space that confronted Michelle on December 8, 2016.
Closing her store three weeks before Christmas was a devastating time for Michelle as the store was about to enter its busiest period.
Adding to that was the impact on the local Vivonne Bay and western end community, her staff, tourists and her two young children.
Although Michelle had an arduous task ahead of her, she said the last three months has reinforced why she loves living on KI.
Once news had got about the fire, she received dozens of phone calls from the community, offering their support to help get the store up and running.
At the launch, Michelle wanted to pay special mention to her staff, Jed Martain, Eden Cohen, Jenna Goels, Rhys Tudor and Lisa Barowski who worked tirelessly to get the store ready to open.
They had to work in awful conditions removing blackened and sooty stock so the cleaning could begin. Michelle said, “They were amazing and kept me going.”
She also thanked her tradesmen, Ron Galaxy and Curtis Wilson and the dads from the Vivonne Bay swimming lessons who answered her call for help to remove heavy fridges.
She paid special thanks to Tony Gilbert who went above and beyond to get the store up and running as quickly as possible.
Most of all, Michelle wanted to thank the Kangaroo Island Community for their unwavering support, and her kids, Amber and Ricki.
The store is now open for business and the famous whiting burger is back on the menu.